1001 Odysseys

Created by Chris Cieslik

An adventure board game with storybooks full of journeys to visit new worlds, meet quirky aliens, and make many, many branching choices. 1-4 Players, 30-60 minutes per chapter.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Cullicut and Story audio cuts!
3 days ago – Fri, Jul 30, 2021 at 10:31:07 PM

Hello! Happy middle-of-summer! Let's not waste time - you're here to see a pretty, pretty map, and we are happy to oblige:

Cullicut: Homeworld of the Timtillawinks

Cullicut is a beautiful, lush world filled with a combination of ecological and technological marvels - sometimes, as you can see, mixed together! The architecture is certainly a bit...daring, but that's what you'd expect from the adventure-loving Timtillawinks. 

With the completion of Cullicut, only two more maps remain to be colored. When we first started doodling maps and planets and biomes, we were excited to see our imagined world come to life, and we're beyond excited about the final product of all the art.

Progress on the chapter-header images is also proceeding well, although those images are more spoily as to what's going on in the story, so we'll be keeping them in our secret vault of story secrets.

Live Reads! Get your Audio Cuts Here!

We're writing text for all of the blurbs that you'll encounter as you play through 1001 Odysseys. They're full of SPOILERS, and we're excited to share them with you when the game is ready.  So we've come up with a creative way to let you get a very small taste of what we have been working on, without revealing the major plot.

Here are some snippets from a live table read of a Chapter that takes place on the planet Araveen, a desert world with sentient, space-faring feline inhabitants called Felisi.

  • 1: You explore a market full of Felisi.
     
  • 2: You meet a nice Felisi and tour her home. We also introduce Amele, a big blue Lackerdood. She's your space BFF.
     
  • 3: You overhear a Felisi knife-monger haggling with an Elemens at an open market.
     
  • 4: You attend a party with a socially awkward Felisi.
     
  • 5: You visit the quarters of Felisi scholars to learn about their home planet.
     

 In ages past, Kickstarter updates allowed you to embed audio files with nice clickable controls, but that functionality has been removed! (I have no idea why). The five MP3 audio files for the above clips can be found at:

https://www.plumplim.com/audioclips/

We hope you enjoy the little peek :) 

History, Legend, Mystique!
about 1 month ago – Sat, Jul 03, 2021 at 05:51:33 PM

Lets start by stating the obvious: IT IS VERY HOT OUTSIDE! Stepping outside the front doors instantly transports us to the feeling of the sweltering heat of Araveen's sunniest deserts. Because of this, we have instituted a mandatory swimming trip for all team members to Flimwait, and backers are welcome to join. Flimwait Pranks are likely, glorious views are certain, and refreshments will be served.

If you've forgotten, this is Flimwait:

Book your travel today! Use code (TOOHOT) at checkout for discount!

Writing!

Many writes are happening, and as we push through chapters and get to interesting branching bits, we've occasionally run into situations where the database says "You want to do what now?" (side note: implementing Snarky Error Messages may have been a mistake). None of these have proven seriously troublesome, but I've had some exciting adventures in re-architecting SQL tables mid-flight. It's good times, really. 

I'm still working on getting an accurate current blurbs counter up on the website, it needed to wait until some of that rearchitecting because it was counting things wrong. Soon! 


From the Writing Team: We're doing internal playtesting of some of the chapters and it's super fun!
Our playtesting tool also helps us spot holes at the edges of the narrative that we can close up efficiently.
Writing continues. Number of blurbs written are many, with many, many, many more to go.


It's a lot of fun reading the blurbs out loud. Sure, they look fine on paper or the screen, but the meetings of laughing and doing funny voices and whatnot really reminds us of how much fun this is to play with a group of friends, an experience that we're allowed to have again in person! 

One Deck History Lesson

Our upcoming game One Deck Galaxy (a followup to One Deck Dungeon) is set in the 1001 Odysseys universe, specifically in Insula, and more specifically...in the PAST! One Deck Galaxy tells the story of the formation of the Federation, starting out as just a homeworld, expanding and exploring and cooperating to build something great. Surely though, building a interstellar network wasn't easy, and that's where Adversaries step in. 

These Adversaries are presented in ODG with a bit of legend-style exaggeration. But even legends have some truth to them, and the Hungry Nebula's a real thing...maybe you'll encounter it during your modern adventures through Insula.

The Neeble-Woobers are members of the Federation in modern times, but back at the start, they wanted ALL THE PLANETS. They got a little less cranky with time. They're cool now, maybe you'll see some on the aforementioned vacation.

Is Social Media a mistake? (Very Topical!) It iiis when you connect it to an enormous AI that decides it knows how to optimize your day for you. Why would you disagree with Optimization Calibrator? It knows best. It Knows You. 

Things are a lot more laid back in Insula now. 


All of these historical bits are things that share references with stories in Odysseys, and we love making the past and present of the world richer. It's fun :)

Summer, Fall, Conventions!

It's been 16 months since PAX East, our last convention with a fancy "demo table" that people could come sit at and talk to us. We are hopeful that conventions later this year will be safe, and our plan is to visit the following this year:

  • Gen Con (September)
  • BGGCon (November)
  • PAX Unplugged (December)

Obviously, this is all contingent on things being safe, and even if things are safe, we're not sure whether we'll be able to run demos or not. Odysseys is a game with a lot of talking, and that doesn't always work so well with masks on. At a minimum, we'll have shiny pins and arts on display. We hope we're able to see you all soon! 

We also hope that it cools down, because it is too hot (we may have mentioned this).

Let's talk about Dates
2 months ago – Thu, May 20, 2021 at 08:19:40 PM

Greetings everyone! We're here to talk about Dates.  Mogbog's Human to Zibzab Dictionarium, Thirteenth Edition, defines a Date as "A delicious humanworld fruit, delightfully rock-like in appearance. They grow on trees!" 

Wait, I'm being told these are not the dates you're interested in! Thankfully Mogbog also defines a Release Date as "An elusive and mysterious temporal object, often shuffled and changed by mysterious forces. It could be tomorrow, or yesterday, with equal probability." As we all know, the Zibzab have some of the brightest (and most colorful) minds in the galaxy.

We've been doing much writing and editing of blurbs (although the past month has been a bit slow due to all getting our vaccines, some various Real Life Adventures requiring Time / Personal Stuff, etc.) and with that we're able to forecast the trajectory of how things are going a bit better. We've got several more months of writing to do, and similar for the creation of art assets. We're up to over 80,000 branching paths, and still plan to add a counter to Plumplim.com so you can see the numbers grow as we work (still later this Spring!) 

The question then is - once we're done writing and art-ing, how quickly will the game get to you? There're two aspects to this portion of the timeline: Testing, and Production. Testing will start before we're "done". We're going to be testing out completed chapters very early in the Summer, and of course our lovely database is continuously testing for dead ends, infinite loops, paradox fruit, and narrative black holes that threaten the fabric of reality. (Preventing the end of reality is easily in our top-5 goals for this project). I do not expect to be in the "testing" phase for more than a month or so after we reach the "done" point, since much of the work will be done along the way! 

Production is harder to predict. Physically printing books and cards isn't too bad, they're normal processes (no microchip shortage for our game!). The trouble right now is with galactic freight, which of course includes Earth Freight. Things are still a bit junked up right now from the Pandemic and the Suez, but I surely hope that's going to continue improving over the coming months. 

All combined, our goal is to push the print button late this year, so that the games can begin their journey to you! What we are definitely going to do this year, is continue to be excited about the game, and share positive things from the game-world. We love Insula, we love writing stories and drawing art about Insula, and we're thankful that so many of you have chosen to come on a journey with us to this fun corner of the galaxy. It's taken longer than we planned, and for that we apologize - but we're really looking forward to how cool this box of stories is going to be when it's completed :)

Plushies and pins!

These are finally at our fulfillment partner warehouse , and we're getting the packaging in line so they arrive to you safe and sound. They've had quite a long journey this year!


Lil bit of art? Lil bit of art!

First, we've been working on the Mission Control Board. This is the human-looking place where all your Momentum and Focus cards go, tracking progress through a Chapter. Your Operations Officer will be using this shiny totally-real-computer-panel throughout your adventures to help figure out where you can go and what you can do! We've mocked up a couple cards and cubes and DISCs to place on it, using very fancy Galactic Photoshop technology. 

Very smol spoilers here, if you want to avoid, but these are a couple Chapter Header images (there's one for every chapter!) I won't say when or where these things happen - it is a mystery! 

 Happy May everyone, hopefully everyone can start seeing some friends and being outside more, it's been a long year! 

How many Odysseys fit in a box? 1001, of course!
4 months ago – Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 02:46:36 PM

Happy Spring (Autumn for you Southern-Hemispherians!) to everyone! In this April update, we're going to talk about a couple of the components of 1001 Odysseys, and how things have grown + evolved since we ran the campaign. If you stay all the way to the end, a Cat Picture awaits.

Story Books

The core of 1001 Odysseys is, well, the story! Using space-age technology (and a hefty database behind it), we will put many words on to "paper" in a fashion that allows you to read them out loud to your table, with fun Plumplim-like voices encouraged. We estimated that we'd have 400 pages of story split across 30 chapters in 4 stories, and we're likely going to wind up with a little more than that, to tell the stories we want to tell. The books themselves will be the very last component we finalize, since they'll exist digitally in our testing system as we make adjustments to both the story-text and the gameplay-text based on editing + game testing. 


Story Progress Update From the Writing Team:

Chapter Mission Outlines (Flowcharts and notes that show mission names, detailed story beats, essential grid locations and characters) are done and documented! These outlines let us put together descriptions and technical requirements for the Maps and other art assets, and we feel really good about the shape of the story as a whole. Now that the skeleton is squared away, we've gone back to developing Detailed Chapter Outlines (up to an estimated 27%) and writing the blurbs that you will read and experience as you play through the Storybooks. Our friendly Simulator Supercomputer is helping make sure that this process continues smoothly by keeping track of exactly which blurbs need to be written and by making it easy to experience the story bit-by-bit. We expand the story a little, write a little, and then check our work right away to see how it feels.


Currently the database contains 269 Blurbs which result in 28857 Unique Branching Paths, and we have 128 Almanac Entries.  Later this spring, we're going to add a live counter to Plumplim.com with counts of blurbs, paths, almanac entries, mentions of the word "plumplim" and other statistics! You'll be able to see in real time as the story grows :)

Maps

The centerpiece of each chapter is the beautiful map that represents the location in Insula that you're visiting. Our original plan was to have 4 large maps (approx 24"x11"), but that expanded to 6 large maps. More recently, we decided instead to have 4 large maps and 6 small maps (approx 8.5"x11") so we could visit a wider variety of exciting locales. 

Progress: All 4 large maps completed, 3 small maps completed, 2 in progress.

Behold our latest completed map: Bassilas! 

Luxurious Underground!

Cards

Location Cards

As you proceed through each chapter, location cards appear on the map to represent the specific places you can visit and their features.  These cards don't require their own art, since they use the art from the underlying map.

A Location Card from the Demo Mission

We've updated the look a bit, but these are still pretty much what we envisioned when we started. The database manages all of the location cards that're required by the game, and when the time comes to export them to the print PDFs, makes the process a breeze. 


Mission / Focus / Momentum Cards

These cards, along with the Mission Control Board, are the components that have changed the most over time. The core exploration mechanic of 1001 Odysseys remains the same - when you want to do something in the world, you pair a Focus(previously "Action"), a Mission, and the coordinates of a Location that matches that Focus. What's grown is the way in which we present these concepts. One of our biggest goals from the start has been to make this game easy to play, you're here to experience cool stories, not flip through a rulebook! 

Originally, you tucked a Focus/Action card underneath a Mission card, so only part of it was showing. This was a bit annoying and fiddly in practice, and wasn't obvious to the folks we ran demos for at conventions, back in those golden days when we were allowed to share a table! We've redesigned the layout of the Mission Control Board to be clearer + easier to use. Right now we're prototyping art for it to make sure everything fits. We should have a fancy version of it to show during our next update.

DISCs + Crew Location Marker

Hey! DISCs aren't cards, but they get placed onto the cards, so it kind of fits under the header. DISCs original job was to track decisions made at individual locations with colored chips. This, it turns out, was super confusing! It was the #1 problem we had in demos while they were part of the game. Instead, important decisions are now recorded in the Passport, on the Chapter Data sheet. 

We also had a second issue - nothing prevented you from visiting the same location on the same mission twice (or three times, or a hundred!) Most players would figure out they'd read the same paragraph after the third time, but we wanted a system in place to actually remind you where you'd been. Instead of DISCs just for decisions, now you place a numbered DISC when you visit a location. Until it's cleared away by the game, you can't go back to that place on that mission. These discs fit into the hexagonal slots on the new Location Card design above. They're also used on the redesigned Mission Control Board in several places, so there's a consistent graphical presentation of what a mission number looks like (it's a number in a hexagon!). 

DISCs were annoying, but now they're the star of the show! Congrats, DISCs, you did it. 

How Much Longer?

Obviously, this game's taken longer than we planned. I'm going to copy some text here from a comment I wrote last month, for folks who're looking for time estimates:

This isn't a normal board game production - ordinarily, we know that we'll need a certain amount of time to complete artwork, graphic design, gameplay testing. For example, One Deck Galaxy will kickstart, need one to two months finalizing things for production based on stretch goals, and go to print. I can provide a solid delivery estimate based on that. If individual things slip, I can share with backers "We need 2 extra weeks to re-make the box art because it turns out we need a triangular box. Shapes, amirite?"

1001 Odysseys is a game *and* a book, and a lot of code-like scaffolding underneath to make that book Work Right. It's required time that I underestimated substantially at first, and then we got slammed with a productivity and creativity-sapping pandemic that we're just starting to emerge from. Even throughout that, we've been making progress continuously, building up the ideas for the stories we're putting into the database now. If you want the framiest of frameworks, I would say that it will take us months, not years, to write this book, from the point we're at now. I would also say that in the next month or two, we'll have a much better idea of how fast filling in all the paragraphs for individual chapters will go.

I know it's frustrating, as we're used to concrete dates and simple timelines in the board game world, but this is much more of an RPG-type production, and writing is harder to quantify. I'm sorry it's taken longer than we thought to put it out, but I'm very excited by how great it's turning out. We just got the finished map of Bassilas this morning, which looks beautiful, and will be in our next update.

(Oh hey! That picture of Bassilas is above! Thanks, past me!)

We're working on this every day, and we thank everyone for being patient and/or understanding. We want this game on your table as much as you do :)

Plushies and Pins!

We are still waiting on some shipping logistics issues (the US West coast is jammed up, as any of you that're also backers of Good Puppers have heard plenty about!) - hopefully able to get through that by the end of the month. It's been quite a year for freight!

Cat Picture

This is objectively the most important part of the update:

Ivy Lounges on the Porch!

 Happy April everyone! Ivy invites you to the porch for tea.

Happy First Day of the Fourth Month!
4 months ago – Fri, Apr 02, 2021 at 01:54:08 AM

In order to test out some database things, I wrote a very silly, very short adventure. 

It is available here!  1001 Odysseys: An A-1 Day 

Real update next week :)